Merry Music Monday

I’ve obviously fallen off the Festive Friday wagon, so how about a double-sized Merry Music Monday to make up for it? These recommendations are both from this year and both country music, which I love.

Kacey Musgraves is an award winning, lyric spitting, old souled, rebellion-of-nice phenomenon in today’s country scene. She writes cleverly like Dolly, styles her hair like Loretta, and defies convention like Wynonna. Her voice is sweet and her appeal endless. I love the arrangements of old favorites on this album, but the new songs like A Willie Nice Christmas, (featuring the legend himself), are equally charming. A Very Kacey Christmas is a must-listen, and is bound to become a favorite.

From its first rollicking electric guitar licks, one can hear that To Celebrate Christmas is a much wilder party than my latter recommended album. After a few measures, Jennifer Nettles’ one-of-a-kind voice blasts onto the musical scene, and we’re in an Elvis-style rock and roller. That’s not to say Nettles can’t be subtle or gentle with her powerful pipes. She sails up and down the scale on all the tracks, using some lovely soulful crooning to match Andra Day on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Many of my singer friends play the LDB game–avoiding hearing The Little Drummer Boy for as long as possible during the holidays. I don’t share their distaste for the song, and Nettles’ anthemic country-pop version—a duet with Idina Menzel—leaves me frozen with delight. (Not sorry for that one!) This is a festive and fun album from a talented singer.